03/11/2011 2:06PM

Vinery Spiral cast adds Decisive Moment


Trainer Juan Arias has informed racing officials at Turfway Park that he intends to ship Decisive Moment from south Florida for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes on March 26.

Decisive Moment is part of a growing roster of 3-year-olds under consideration for the 40th running of the Grade 3 Vinery Spiral, the annual showcase race at Turfway in Florence, Ky. A two-back winner of the ungraded Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs, Decisive Moment most recently was fifth in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Turfway stakes coordinator Tia Murphy is keeping a close watch on hopefuls for the track’s only major Kentucky Derby prep, which goes at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack. Other known prospects at this early juncture include King Congie, Crimson China, Positive Response, Casper’s Touch, Taptowne, and Son of Posse, while the connections of Bluegrass Bull and Willcox Inn are keeping the race open as an option. In addition, a number of major trainers have yet to declare their intentions.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

The Vinery Spiral has undergone a number of name changes through the years and was known from 2002-10 as the Lane’s End Stakes. The last four winners have all run back in the Derby, most notably Hard Spun, the 2007 Derby runner-up. The last five Spirals have been run on Polytrack.

The Vinery Spiral is one of five stakes set for the March 26 program, which will be run during daytime hours. Nighttime Saturday cards have been the norm at Turfway since Feb. 5.

Barn area to close for months

Breaking from tradition, the Turfway stable area will be closed for training for about four months this spring and summer. Citing the move as a cost-saving measure, the track will close April 18 and reopen in mid-August, according to assistant racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer.

Turfway normally is open year-round and charges a nominal per-day fee for stall rent when a meet is not running, but the track’s president, Bob Elliston, said about 500 horses are needed to allow the track to break even. Only about 350 horses were stabled at Turfway during the spring-summer time frame last year, and officials said they had no evidence to believe a sizable influx was forthcoming this year.

◗ Ben Creed has opened a sizable lead atop the jockey standings at the Turfway winter-spring meet. Into Friday, Creed led Rodney Prescott by a 46-28 margin. Among trainers, Mike Maker (21 wins) also holds a comfortable lead over Eric Reed (13) and Bill Connelly (12).

◗ To make up in part for weather-related cancellations earlier in the meet, Turfway will have racing here the next two Thursdays (March 17 and 24), with first post set for 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The first of those will include a St. Patrick’s Day theme and a Comedy Club event in Blinkers on the fourth floor. More information is available at turfway.com.

◗ Apprentice rider Constantino Roman is scheduled to switch his tack to Turfway, effective March 20, according to agent Steve Elzey. Roman has been riding recently at Hawthorne in Chicago, where into Friday action he had won with 7 of 54 mounts. Elzey also will continue to work for journeyman Irwin Rosendo.

◗ The stable area at Churchill Downs in Louisville reopened Friday after being closed since Dec. 31 for the usual down time for annual maintenance chores. Training was scheduled to begin the following morning.